On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” (John 20:19–22, NIV 1984).
My Musings – When Peter denied Jesus, he had not yet received the Holy Spirit. Very early, in the Book of Acts, we can see the difference it made. Just as Jesus said it would. “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8, NIV). To some (including all but one of the Disciples), the “ends of the earth” took them to violent martyrdom. In other words, “as the Father has sent me, I am sending you.“
As I wrote yesterday, we do not know what specifically lies before us as the world rushes forward towards Armageddon. Perhaps the past is our best guide. Some, “through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice…shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground.” (Hebrews 11:33–38, NIV 1984).
My Advice – This may be our immediate future, but not our ultimate future. We can stand firm in the immediate future, not through our own courage or strength, but through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit and by the “joy set before us” in our ultimate future.